Posted May 2009
Ashley Johnson (Senior, Biology) was one of 60 students chosen nation-wide to present research posters at the “Posters on the Hill” event in Washington D.C. this spring. Sponsored by the Council on Undergraduate Research and funded by the American Chemical Society, it was a chance for the students to present their research, highlight the importance of undergraduate research, and also meet congressional representatives from their home state. This is the 4th year in a row that a Chaminade student has had this honor.
“Chaminade has a very strong science program,” says Ashley. “I was happy to tell them about it.”
Ashley went to Sacred Hearts Academy (high school) just down the hill from Chaminade. Of Native Hawaiian descent, Ashley has participated twice in the ABRCMS conference (Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students), and won a poster presentation award there in 2009.
Last summer she participated in the GEMS program (Graduate Experience for Multi-Cultural Students) as a paid undergraduate research intern, (funded from NIH, Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute) working on pneumonia vaccine research at the Immunology and Infectious Disease Lab at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center. She worked in the lab of Dr. Edward Janoff, and Jacinta Cooper was her graduate mentor.
Ashley chose Chaminade because she knew she wanted to study science or a health-related field in some way, and had heard Chaminade had a good reputation in the sciences. She wanted a school close to home, and “didn’t want to do a five-year plan” by attending a state school (Chaminade has a four-year graduation plan for every major, including credit-heavy science majors.)
Ashley has a lot of praise for the science division. “There is a lot of faculty support. We (students) are always in and out of their offices. It is common to have a teacher stop you in the hall and say, “I’ve heard about something you should definitely apply for.” They are always willing to help, to make accommodations.”
Ashley is also excited about Chaminade’s growth. “Everyone is excited about the nursing program, Dr. Turner is doing an amazing job… and have you seen the new organic chemistry lab? The labs are SOO nice now with the renovations and new equipment.” She also remembers the lab before renovation, and the “Lost” scene that was once filmed there because the lab and equipment were so old it looked like another era. “We joke about that,” says Ashley.
Her family likes Chaminade as well: Her twin sister, Lynsey Johnson, graduated in December with a Psychology degree, and her younger sister Korey Johnson was a freshman this year.
Beyond academics, Ashley is a real people person, and she knows this has been a factor in her decision to pursue medicine rather than a research-intensive career. Ashley loves kids, and would like to be a pediatrician. Athletics are also an important part of her life. She is involved as a volunteer with youth soccer, and her biggest kick lately has been to coach a team of all under-6 year olds. “They are a riot,” she says. She feels she can help many kids in a small way through the AYSO league; she says she has noticed many kids don’t have a good home life, and soccer is a good outlet to channel energy constructively. Ashley has worked in a variety of volunteer capacities, including organizing donations at the Next Step Homeless Shelter in Kakaako.
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